A ShapeShift’s holster shell differs from the kydex holster makers’ products primarily in how it is manufactured.

Injection molding is used to create the ShapeShift shell. Kydex, on the other hand, is created by pressing. Kydex holster makers are so numerous because starting a business is relatively easy. While practically anyone can do it, there are some quality producers with fastidious attention to detail out there.

Heat is applied to a sheet of Kydex – a hard plastic – before it is inserted into the mold press. When pressure is applied to the material, it begins to flow so that it takes the shape of the mold when it is heated. Cooling hardens the plastic and allows it to retain the shape of the object molded on it.

The excess material is trimmed away and then polished, and presto! A holster has been created.

Shells for ShapeShift holsters are injection-molded however. Molds are filled with soft molten polymer, and any air is removed with an industrial vacuum. When the material is cooled, it can be assembled without needing to be polished or trimmed. The holster shells are precision-molded so that they can fit any open carry or concealed carry setup.

Kydex holster makers aren’t inferior, again, this isn’t meant to imply so. Because ShapeShift Holster System products require precise molds, which take time to perfect, it takes a long time for them to be developed. Alien Gear Holsters doesn’t accept “good enough” products; they have to be perfect in order to be sold.

A more precise product is created with injection molding.

Material Comparison: ShapeShift Holsters vs. Kydex Holsters

It matters a great deal what material the shell is made of.

Kydex is a thermoplastic acrylic. That means it contains acrylic acid and becomes pliable and moldable when heated, then hardens when cooled, like most plastics.

Rohm and Haas, a chemical company absorbed by Dow Chemical, developed the formula and gave it the name in the 1960s. Kydex LLC bought the formula and later sold it to Sekisui SPI.

In The material is a brand name, sort of like DuPont’s Styrofoam.

Under pressure at temperatures of 264 psi on the material, it can resist deformation up to 173 degrees F.

We We cannot tell you what polymers we use or how many of them we use. Our best guess is that it’s made from nylon, but isn’t exclusively made from nylon. It isn’t glass-filled or any other material; it is a blend of polymers.

Thus, one must ask why the industry and so many people have such a problem with Kydex. Public perception dictates what the public sees…but why? Kydex is very easy and inexpensive to work with, and it is very easy to mold.

Alien Gear Holsters’ founder began molding holster shells on his kitchen table. A primitive mold, a few sheets of Kydex, and a toaster oven could be used to make holsters. The problem with nylon is that it usually has to be injection molded; you need a lot of tooling to even start. There is no easy and cheap way to do it!

In In other words, Kydex is a better material than some…but less effective than injection-molded nylon-based polymers. This is why we prefer it over Kydex.

John Eshan

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